Anne Isaksson

Anne Isaksson is a 2D/3D artist living in Stockholm, Sweden. She has a bachelor’s degree in 3D graphics from the Luleå University of Technology and a degree in 2D game art from Future Games. She has worked in the 3D industry and as a freelance 2D artist. She is currently a full-time concept and board game artist at ION Game Design.

Artwork Samples

  • player boards from Pax Hispanica
  • Elda
  • characters from Fluffy Frontier
  • some of the character art from Stationfall
  • V Rising poster

Audio Transcript

“Hello everyone. My name is Anne Isaksson, but you can call me Annie and I started as a board game artist in 2021, I believe, during Corona nonetheless and I have always loved to draw. I think it was in the 6th grade when I decided I wanted to work with games. And so I started to study 3D and 2D and I went to Future Games to study art there specifically for games for two years and during that time, we got to do an internship and I applied for ION Game Design and that’s where I got my first internship within the board game industry.

“I was very, very lucky to be taken in by ION Game Design. I even got to work on Stationfall as my first board game where I got to do both the box art but also a lot of the characters. There are 30 characters. Madeleine Fjäll gave me a hand with those, so I’m very thankful. That it was such a dream come true. 

“I am best known for I think characters. That’s what I’m hoping for. That’s my love and passion. I think my style is a little bit semi-realistic. However, I try in the future to always create a new art direction, to create an identity for each board game that I have been working on and with Stationfall, it was so fun. It was so fun. All the characters were very quirky and it matched the games so well. The way I would pitch Stationfall is a board game for heavy gamers that want to play a party game.

“I got to also do the box art, which was so intimidating, but I am so happy to see it out in the shelves now. It’s so rewarding to see it. It was a… I would say a team effort with the composition and like the final outcome, but I am so happy they gave me free hands as well to do what I think would fit the game. 

“And the work that I’m most proud of is… that’s so hard to say. I’ve been working on… uh, let’s see here. I don’t remember all of them. So I worked on Stationfall, I worked on DerrocAr, High Frontier: Module 4: Exodus, Interstellar, Fluffy Frontier, Pax Hispanica and the last one is Kartini: From Darkness to Light. Oh, oh, oh boy. I think the ones that I’m most proud of are the ones that got an identity for themselves with a unique art style that I haven’t seen a lot of board games make.

“So that would probably be either DerrocAr or Fluffy Frontier. DerrocAr has like a a style… it’s kind of… a lot of line art, a lot of chicken scratch line art with kind of chameleon eyes with a lot of paper, torn paper and photos smashed together with an arts… like with art… it is just very hard to explain. I would recommend you go and check it out to see if for yourself, but I’m very proud of that. I haven’t seen that art style in any board games before.

“But also my baby Fluffy Frontier that I worked on when… it started when someone asked me what kind of board game would you make? And I said, I think I would just do cats in space. And half a year later, that’s what I was working on and I worked so long trying to figure out an art direction for that and we ended up with kind of like a decent style with a 60s twist on it. A lot of warm colours. Like bold graphics. It was so hard to… nail down, but I finally got something I was very happy with and I’m so glad it pulled through in the end.

“Both of those games are were they kind of were completely alone and with the Fluffy Frontier I did have some help, but I was the art director or the art lead, whatever you want to call me. I think it turned out very well and I hope you guys get the chance to enjoy it as well.

“I do like creating different styles. I want each game to stand on their own legs and feel different from the other. If I got to choose what I got to draw all day it was 100% doing characters. I love characters. They’re so fun just creating someone and I want to want people to be able to see their personality, what they do, where they grew up, like just throughout the design. That’s my bread and cheese here.

“Another thing that I really find important is getting a… how should I say… getting the player like into the game, getting the thematics right and hopefully the player gets sucked into the world and get the… and feel like they are the character and are in this story and can create this story for themselves while playing the board game.

“Where I get my inspiration from is everywhere. I… is honestly my job every day to just find inspiration at different places, different experience. When I made a Pax Hispanica, I asked my boss if we could go to Vasa Museum in Stockholm.

“Oh yeah. I’m from from Sweden. I live in Stockholm. So we have a museum where there was a just a a ship that the king built in the 1600s. That’s just immediately sunk and they managed to pick it up 300 years later and it’s preserved beautifully. So that’s is one. I looked at a 1600 ship for this 1600 based game. I, like I said, I try to find inspiration every day from different sources. The… obviously different board games as well.

“While making artwork for board game is very, very important to find the balance of readability versus art, I would say. It’s way harder than it looks. I find that clarity and a piece of art doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand. So finding the right balance where the player understands what they’re supposed to do and also find it beautiful, like a card…. just the back of card can be super, super beautiful and also readable. That’s that’s the goal, right? And making that is such a balance and back and forth and play testing and try to see where you can push the colours and the artistic language versus the clarity and the icons and just the readability of the token or card or whatever you’re making, essentially, it’s just important.

“To have a I think a beautiful and distinguished game, but also a very clear game where player are never confused about how to play the game right, and that can be, honestly, also just as challenging to have that balance and it can take a long time to get that right, but what take the longest in my opinion is illustrations for a deck of cards. A deck of cards can be like 60 to 100 to 130 different cards and when my boss told me, oh, we’re gonna have individual illustrations for these. Oh, OK, clear my schedule. Time to grind.

“When you want every illustration to have a certain quantity, but also you need to do a hundred of them. It’s a very hard balance and that can take… it can take months, honestly. To have them, it needs to be good enough, right? It has to be a certain quality, but you also need to realise, OK, I need to make a hundred of these. So you know, I think what I spend is like around two to three hours per illustration per card, essentially, give or take, depending on how challenging it is and then just move on because there is no more time. If you do the math: three hours times 100, there you go. While, but it’s also very fun and you learn so much finding way, finding shortcuts. I would say to get it done in time, but that takes time.

“Another thing that takes time is was in Stationfall with thirty characters, were the characters was kind of the selling point and they needed to look good and we also picked like some realistic style, which takes a little bit more time. So I gave myself two days, so it was… I spent three hours on concept art. Each character got three different designs and we picked one of the designs and then I spent another three hours and another eight hours to polish that. So two hours per character and there is 30 characters. So that you can do the math how long that took, but that is honestly, like I mentioned before, my bread and butter. So I could do that all day, every day. It is what I live for. It is so fun to make characters, so I that I don’t mind. It can take as long as it wants.

“I think more board games, when it comes to artwork, they should try to find their own identity. There’s a lot of board games that looks very similar and when I look for inspiration, when I look at other board games, I see it’s like, I’ve seen that before seeing that before. They should explore more to find their own identity, their own language, that makes them stand out from the crowd.

“Again, I also think board games can be pieces of artwork, right? A lot of them make the bare minimum and I think a lot of them can benefit from just make the board pretty. And make the world pretty make. Make the cards pretty, make it pretty, right? Add flowers, add tiny details. If it’s a line you can stylize the line. It doesn’t have to be a straight line, you know. Obviously, there are time restraints, I understand. Try to see where you can really find the language for your game and I promise you it will stand out from the crowd.

“Artists’ styles that I admire, it kind of depends. Honestly, when it comes to board games, I would really look a lot at Hidden Leaders. It’s such a beautiful game with interesting characters, beautiful colours, beautiful shapes. It just comes together as a cohesive piece that I always admire. So I look a lot at Hidden Leaders, but honestly, mostly I look at other media for inspiration.

“I look at a lot of digital games. I look at movies I look at LP, CD covers. I look at a lot, a lot of ads and commercials how they portray and create a design for their products. I don’t follow specific people per se, but I try to find inspiration in different places.

“Something I do come back to though, is a lot of League of Legends characters with their splash art. There are so talented artists there who spend like a month on this one art piece, right? And you can tell the composition, the colours and the story they’re telling in just one image is so inspiring, so impressive, and that’s something I strive to and I usually come back to to see how it was made.

“That I would recommend if you… you’re a board game artist yourself, then don’t just look at other board games. Try to avoid that. Try to look at movies, concept art, classical paintings. Advertisement. Look at places other board games have not looked, right, and try to find that identity for yourself. What would happen if you only used brown and gold for your game. What would happen if you were only allowed to use pointy shapes? What would happen if you’re only… I don’t, I don’t know… use text for art. I don’t know, but try to find this art direction for yourself and look at other places. Look at how other people have managed to create that identity and see what you can learn from them and apply in your own game.

“And I think what very few people… very few people know about me. OK, this question. I don’t know. Not a lot of people know about me, so I think there is a lot.  I don’t know. I like… I like… I like chocolate and long walks on the beach and cosy evenings at home, I guess. I don’t know what this question is. I’m sorry. 

“Yeah, if you want to get in touch with me, you can… first of all, if you want to check out my art, you can look at ION Game Design‘s website and find the games I mentioned: Pax Hispanica, Fluffy Frontier, DerrocAr and all that jazz. If you want to see my portfolio, you can find me at ArtStation as Anne Isaksson. If you want to see like all my good work, but also my crappy work, my sketches, my studies, everything, I upload everything like that on Instagram as artambly: Art-A-N-B-L-I… I think… or is it Y? You’ll find me. Don’t worry.

“Otherwise you can e-mail me as well if you have any… I do freelance if you want to have some freelance work for me. You can e-mail me at [email protected].

“And that’s it. Hope to hear from you and have a great day.”

Transcript by Make My Game Travel (


  1. The box art of Stationfall is one of my favorites! Of course, the art in the character dossier is also amazing.

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